How do doctors reach the diagnosis?
Diagnosis begins with accurate history taking, especially a history of alcohol consumption. He will also perform a physical examination to help determine if you have an inflamed liver or spleen. Your doctor may need other tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as:
- The onset of jaundice within the last eight weeks
- Complete blood picture (CBC)
- Liver function tests: Abnormal high levels indicates liver damage.
- Blood clotting tests and bleeding times as prothrombin time
- Ultrasound of the liver is the sensitive method to view the liver state and internal structures.
- Liver imaging techniques, such as CT scan and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
If the diagnosis is difficult, the doctor may do a liver biopsy. This process requires a tissue sample from the liver by a needle or during surgery. It is an invasive and risky procedure, but it can show the severity and the liver condition by checking the sample under the microscope.
See your doctor if you:
- Have symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis
- Can not control or lower your drinking
- Want help cutting back on your drinking
People who continue to drink alcohol face a high risk of liver damage and death. Too much alcohol intake without control or complete management will complicate by the following:
- Fatty liver
- Liver cirrhosis and liver failure
- Liver scarring can slow blood flow through the liver and increase pressure in the portal vein (Portal hypertension).
- Jaundice deepens.
- Enlarged veins (varices): Blood -that can’t pass through the portal vein- returns to other blood vessels around the stomach and esophagus. These blood vessels are thin-walled and are easy to bleed if filled with too much blood. Bleeding from the esophagus and upper stomach requires immediate medical care.
- Fluid accumulates in your abdomen and legs (ascites and edema), which is usually a sign of an advanced stage.
- Accumulation of fluid in your abdomen may trigger an infection, known as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, which is a medical emergency.
- Confusion, sleepiness, deterioration, drowsiness, and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy): the damaged liver can’t remove toxins from the blood. The buildup of toxic substances can affect your brain. Severe affection may end in a hepatic coma.
- Kidney failure: the damaged liver can reduce blood flow to the kidney and causes renal failure.
- Bleeding tendency
- Iron overload
- Liver cancer